New Delhi, Jan 13: Disappointed at being ignored for five years, veteran Indian pacer Ashish Nehra said it is absolutely imperative for him to perform well in the upcoming Twenty20 series in Australia to have any shot at selection for the World Twenty20.
The 37-year-old last played for India in the semi-final of the victorious 2011 World Cup campaign against Pakistan.
After missing the final due to a finger injury, he was overlooked for nearly five years before being recalled for the three-match T20 series against Australia starting January 26 in Adelaide.
He made the return to the Indian team on the back of an impressive IPL season, where he finished fourth on the wicket takers list with 22 scalps from 16 games.
"I was surprised when they were not picking me for the last 2-3 years to be honest. Better late than never, hopefully I can do well, I am just working hard," Nehra, who has 157 wickets to his kitty from 120 ODIs and 13 scalps from eight T20 Internationals, told 'ESPNCricinfo'.
"If I go to Australia and play the World T20 (in India in March-April) and deliver, people will say 'Oh he should have been there earlier. If I don't people will say it was right that they didn't pick him!' That's how it works in India. Whatever is gone is gone, I am just looking forward and hopefully everything will go my way," he said.
The injury-prone Delhi pacer admitted that it was difficult at times to motivate himself when he was in the wilderness but he somehow kept himself fit with regular practice.
"I have always worked hard to play international cricket. Once you have been there, you know how much pleasure you get playing for India. There were times when it was very difficult for me to motivate myself, despite not being picked, to go to the gym or ground and train. It was difficult," Nehra said.
He said he wants to double up as a mentor to India's emerging crop of fast bowlers on his return to the national side.
"This is a short tour, but whatever little I can help the youngsters, I will. If I can play till the World T20, I will definitely look at that job, I have done it for CSK and I really enjoyed it. Most of the bowlers have different strengths, but you can't buy experience.
"I made my debut 17 years ago. In the sub-continent, somebody like me, who has had so many injuries, undergone 10-12 surgeries, still standing there and playing the fastest format of all, it has taught me something which I can pass on to the youngsters and give my experience."